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Meg's instagram: @insulinaddict_aus
My burn out was such a detrimental time in my life. That year will always be so vivid to me. During this time I unfortunately created unhealthy coping mechanisms especially with my diabetes management and how I reacted when things in my life got tough. To this day, they are habits that I have found hard to break. Flashback to 2010. Or what my mum and I refer to as “My Big Burnout Year”.
"While I’m able to reflect with a new found strength, there is an underlying sense of sadness as we endured a lot of heartache, frustration and trauma during that time."
As a teenager so much is already changing. When hormones are thrown in the diabetes mix needless to say, these are extremely challenging years. I was bombarded at that age. I had a busy schedule. My priorities had definitely changed through my transition to high school. The last thing I wanted to think about was my diabetes. I was beginning to have tunnel vision and felt like I had had the condition forever – a feeling I had never noticed before. I was slowly seeing diabetes more and more of a burden. I adopted a victim mentality, became very sensitive and detached from my management. I could never see past the why me?’s. And honestly? I just didn’t want to have diabetes anymore.
What I comprehend now is that by age 12 I faced a diabetes milestone that impacted me greatly at the time. You see I realised that from that year on I was always going to have lived with type one for more than half of my life. I look back and wish I could hug that girl, tell her she’d accomplish so much despite diabetes, but I think she just never knew how to deal with that thought. She didn’t know there were resources out there. Didn’t know who to talk to or who would truly get it. While she knew it was too big to carry she was too scared to put it out in the open. Fearing if the words were spoken it would make it real. That there is something wrong with me.
What came with keeping things bottled up for me was the fear of what people would think. Would I be seen as a Negative–Nancy? No-one likes a complainer. Would people tell me ‘it can’t be that hard’? Suck it up Meg. Would people judge? Maybe if you took better care of yourself you wouldn’t be feeling like this. Would all the effort my family put toward my health be for nothing? An overarching guilt for the sacrifices my brother, sister, mum and dad have had to make for me. Oh boy, how in the world could I keep doing this forever? I just don’t want to.
What I did not realise was that I was overwhelmed and experiencing diabetes burn out.
"I’m really happy we live in a world where talking about your feelings is encouraged more and more."
It is one thing I wish I had done sooner and what I know now would have saved a lot of diabetes heartache that caught up with me in recent years.
In sharing my story I hope you are able to take a few things away:
To carers, friends and family, try to ask me how I am not what my level is. If my level is 16 don’t tell me what I’ve done wrong. For all you know I might have had a completely normal human reaction to a breakup and spent the night crying my eyes out.
Acknowledge your diabetes milestones. Let yourself feel the emotions they bring. Angry? Sad? Proud? Talk about it with those who understand. Or with people you wish to understand. Celebrate if you feel like it. And try to feel empowered at the fact that you continue to get by despite not wanting to.
Remember that everyone has their vice. Not to be mistaken for your feelings aren’t valid because xyz has gone through this or that, but because it is easy to stay in the diabetes bubble and forget that literally everyone is tired. Everyone wants things to be easy. Everyone is dealing with something.
"Basically don’t get caught up in wishing your life away and thinking that everyone else has their life together."
In my 26 years of life I’m yet to meet someone who has.
Insulin is an important hormone in the process of converting glucose into energy so without it your energy levels will be low. It's a hard concept to understand when the last thing you feel like doing while being burned out is looking after your diabetes, but chances are the lousy feeling you are experiencing is just being heightened through higher levels and lack of insulin. The better control you have, the lighter it will feel I promise.
From someone who has been there. You just have to keep going. And if you don’t feel like it today that’s ok. But promise you’ll try again tomorrow. xx
Behind the Burnout Truth Campaign
With National Diabetes Awareness Month happening, we believe it's important to continue our committment with sharing the support as at the end of the day, we understand and acknowledge that diabetes management is a 24/7 experience.
With that in mind, we've created a #BurnoutTruth initiative to use this chance to shine a public light on an area that's often experienced in the dark by yourself.
Burnout truth is all about showing the realness of having chronic illness burnout and normalising this experience so that others out there know that it is real. By sharing different communtiy stories, we hope that we're able to communicate that the main message is to know that these things happen because you’re a human, whether it’s with diabetes or outside of having diabetes. 😊
Remember to always seek advice from your medical practitioner before changing anything about your diabetes management. The above information is not medical advice.
This article is very helpful. Meg’s wisdom belies her young age. Thank you Meg for sharing your life and how you’ve dealt with burnout.